Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

US Embassy Celebrates SheArts, MuSHEqa Program Graduates

Sun 10 Mar 2024 | 10:27 AM
US Embassy in Cairo Chargé d’affaires Evyenia Sidereas
US Embassy in Cairo Chargé d’affaires Evyenia Sidereas
Rana Atef

On Friday, the US Embassy celebrated International Women's Day by celebrating the conclusion of the MuSHEqa program, and SheArts which witnessed the training of 40 Egyptian talented musicians.

The celebration witnessed a performance by the trained voices, followed by a performance by "Tablet El Set" at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

Before the event, the US Embassy in Cairo Chargé d’affaires Evyenia Sidereas was interviewed by various Egyptian reporters about the program of SheArts, MuSHEqa, and the efforts of the US Embassy in the field of women's empowerment.

Sidereas said: "A lot of our focus in Egypt is involved in economic growth, education, empowerment. The idea of focusing our programs to empower young men, young women, and look for opportunities for all of Egyptian society to learn from each other.

We have similar economic challenges and social challenges in our countries, and women sometimes find it harder to find opportunities to raise their families, to advance in the workplace, to have equality in the workplace and society. So, we are looking at opportunities to increase women's educational opportunities, especially in the new economy and the fields of technology, to increase women's access to technical skills and networks for entrepreneurship, to create businesses, and the opportunities to lead in civic and economic engagement."

She added: "When the US government and other parts of our government are looking at how to empower women, we're looking at economic and educational opportunities first, but also men too, young men and young women both. But of course, we know that the ultimate strategy for your government with Vision 2030 and for the American people is full equality between men and women."

After that she talked about the targets of the MuSHEqa program: "It's designed to bring opportunities for women, Egyptian women in music, because even though there's these wonderful opportunities here, it's mainly been a male-dominated industry."

"Egypt is a leader in traditional arts and music and Egyptian music and culture is popular all over the Middle East. We want to make sure that women's voices can have a bigger role and we want to make sure that women can make more money and make a living in these fields as well."

Regarding the future strategies of the US Embassy in Cairo concerning women's empowerment in Egypt, the US official said: "The US government is thinking about our friendship, our partnership with Egypt across all areas. We think we'd like to collaborate on combating cybercrime. We think we want to do more to promote cultural preservation. 

We'd like to do more to empower young Egyptian people to study information technology. We always think, how can we make sure we're also empowering women To make sure we have equal opportunity for women and girls across all of our programs."

She highlighted that there are various programs in the fields of arts, and culture.

On the event, prominent US composer, and the Music Director of the program Hal Rosenfeld said: “I'm really just helping all these powerful women to come together and showcase their talents,” adding that the performed songs at the concert were their original work.

He added that he “helped them with some performance stuff and logistics of how to put a show.”

After that, he talked about the position of women in the industry, he said: “In the last four or five years, it is what we would say the needle is moving quite a bit for the percentage of women composing music for movies and writing pop songs. We have so much work to do still, but it is starting to grow. 

And I think programs like MuSHEqa, just to have over 200 applicants to then come down to 45 people selected to now 20 people performing today of songs they wrote themselves. It's what we need. We need more programs like this.

And the funding from the U.S. Embassy of, I think, over $200,000 is just mind-blowing to me. There are so many resources. We've got the Egyptian Museum. We've got rehearsal places. We've got hotels. I mean, this is stuff that even as struggling musicians in Los Angeles don't even get these kinds of opportunities. I think we're really on a good path.”